March 27, 2014
great recording, solid show
First of all, it's true that all three nights of this run sound great. So easy on the ears, so fun to listen to almost regardless of the content...
This show is mostly well played but to my ear never quite elevates. Anytime High Time shows up and is well played it is always a highlight and this is no exception. Bird Song is lovely as usual but never quite takes focus, so whether you like it may be a matter of taste. Second set is all well played in the usual 1990 manner; the jam out of Foolish is briefly brilliant, based on some restless invention by Garcia, but never truly coheres into the great jam it could have been. Overall to me this has the feeling typical of a "warmup show" - which it was.
Worth your time if you're a fan of the era especially due to the amazing sound quality. Performance quality is heavily overshadowed by the next two nights but I need to give it 4 stars to help balance out the very unfair and overly subjective 2 star review below.
June 14, 2013
NJPG - thank you for this window on the show. I submit that this is a perfect representation of why this was a great show. Often the lame 1st sets were good launching points to cosmic exploits in the 2nd. Your odyssey epitomizes the GD experience. Your friend's disappearance into the puddle and the ogres typify so many of my own tour voyages. The good the bad and the ugly - all the necessary ingredients to manifest the seemingly impossible which occurred over and over again. The will and craft to survive to do it all again was essential.
UJB opener nice surprise and a respectable China Rider with a good jam in Estimated. Jovial Foolish with a tidy post drums. Nothing over the top, but a worthy GD trip.
Some only existed at shows, but they did exist.
April 26, 2011
For this show in general, not the recording
This was my thirteenth show, and it was spooky and weird. About halfway through the first set, my two buddies and I ran into some...well, I'm not sure WHAT they were, to tell you the truth. I'm pretty sure we didn't hallucinate this, though it's possible. There were three or four really big dudes, built like boulders, standing in front of where we were out on the floor quite a way back from the stage. One of them had "white power" tattooed on the back of his neck. My buddy John, rarely one to be cautious or diplomatic back then, wised off to the guy. These guys turned around, and they were FREAKS. The signs of definitely more than one generation of inbreeding were clearly to be seen: exaggerated features, partial hairlips, symmetry just a little bit OFF. S__t, man, they may not actually have been human; they might have been giants or ogres or something. They scared the crap out of us, and they knew it, and they were proud of their ugliness. We fled pretty smoothly and ended up in the back bleachers, my buddies smoking some fake opium they'd been sold, me trying to come to terms with how dosed I was. I started to rave happily during Drums, but we were surrounded by bad-tempered Deadheads and one of them told me to shut up. Whoever you are, dude, if you're out there, thanks a lot for cramping my high.
As for the show itself, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. During Black Peter, a pretty big bat flew over the stage, its bony-fingered wings luridly illuminated from below by the dirty yellow stage lights: quite a fitting little effect from Mother Nature's effects department, considering the monsters we'd already seen. During space I kept looking up at the sky and expecting some alien thing out of H.P. Lovecraft to descend on the world and dance to the music.
However, on a second listen, this show wasn't really that good. The first set is disjointed and listless, with Easy to Love You (one of my favorite songs normally) going on way too long and a Bird Song jam that goes nowhere, and everybody was really pissed when the opening strains of Promised Land were cut off and a bored-sounding Weir said "We'll be back in a little bit." Second set no better. One of the worst shows I saw, actually. Cal Expo had great sound and probably all the AUDs are pretty crisp, but not worth it.
Unfortunately, this was also the show at which one of my best friends took the trip that ruined his life. He drank a dripping handful--literally a puddle--of liquid LSD and was twitchy and impaired for the rest of his short life. From my own experience I know that LSD is not necessarily dangerous if you pay attention to dosage and the drug is dealt with responsibly in general. But when everybody has to hide out in the dark if they want to do it, there's more reckless behavior because folks figure they're already criminals and so WTF. In memory of this show and of my friend, I'll just repeat what way too many people have had to say and what should be glaringly obvious: drugs should be legal so that those who use them can be free to develop a culture of safety around it.